Sales of ice cream in the hot weather have helped supermarket sales grow at their strongest pace for more than five years, industry figures show.
Growth accelerated to 5% in the 12 weeks to 18 June according to Kantar Worldpanel – the fastest rate since March 2012.
The heat wave boosted sales of traditional summer categories such as ice cream – up 12% – and cider – up by 16% – together adding £58m to revenues.
Kantar’s figures do not extend to last week, when Britain experienced its warmest June day since 1976.
The acceleration in sales growth was also helped by a further uptick in grocery inflation, which climbed to 3.2%, its highest level since November 2013.
That adds an equivalent to £133 to the average annual shopping bill, with the highest rises seen in products such as butter – up 20% – and fish – up 14%.
Price rises in supermarkets have been accelerating this year after more than two years of deflation.
However, food and drink retailers seem to have been less adversely affected than other sectors with consumers apparently prioritising essential purchases.
The big four supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons all posted growth in the latest period, led by a 3.7% rise for Morrisons.
Discounters Aldi and Lidl continued their rapid expansion, each adding just under 19% in sales.
Separate industry data from Nielsen also highlighted the impact of the warm weather, with sales for the four weeks to 17 June up 4% year-on-year, including an especially strong final week, helped by drinks, frozen food and ice cream.
Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, said: “The early summer weather gave supermarkets a much-needed shot on the arm.”